Esau Jenkins papers, 1963-2003
Printed material, correspondence, photographic materials, and literary productions (1963-2003) document the life and works of Esau Jenkins (1910-1972). The collection is divided into four small series: 1.) Biographical papers include printed tributes; death notices and materials, including funeral sermons; a compact disc of images and other papers documenting lectures and exhibits regarding Jenkins held after his death, along with programs, correspondence and related material regarding naming of buildings, services and a bridge after him. It also contains genealogical information on Jenkins and his family. 2.) Writings holds miscellaneous correspondence and notes and printed versions of his talks and writings. 3.) Affiliations contains correspondence, brochures, notes, and other data on variety of organizations he helped found or was a member of, including the Progressive Club, Citizen's Committee of Charleston, Community Organization Credit Union, Political Action Committee of Charleston County, Political Awareness League of Charleston County, and the Highlander Folks Center. Topics mentioned include the 1969 Charleston Hospital Worker's strike, and the protested death of a young African American, Robert Brown, killed by a white policeman in 1970. 4.) Miscellaneous materials include photocopies of published materials documenting life on Johns Island, South Carolina and Jenkins' role in citizenship schools run by the Highlander Center and funded by the Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation.
- Jenkins, Esau, 1910-1972 (Person)
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Esau Jenkins was born to Peter and Eva Jenkins on Johns Island, South Carolina on July 3, 1910 and lived most of his life there. Upon completing the fourth grade, he began working on boat out of Charleston. As a life-long learner, Jenkins continued his through night classes and correspondence courses, becoming a businessman and civil rights leader. Jenkins married Janie Elizabeth Jones in 1926, together they had thirteen children
Jenkins founded the Progressive Club in 1948, which encouraged local African Americans to register to vote, through the aid of Citizenship Schools, a topic he was educated in by his attendance at Highlander Folk Center in Tennessee. In 1959, he organized the Citizens' Committee of Charleston County dedicated to the economic, cultural and political improvement of local African Americans. With a personal motto "Hate is Expensive, Love is Progress," Jenkins uplifted his community, helping to found the Community Organization Federal Credit Union and serving on many local boards and committees.
Jenkins died in 1972, leaving behind a large family. After his death, many institutions, programs, and a bridge were named for him.
0.5 linear feet (1 archival box)
Language of Materials
Esau Jenkins (1910-1972) was born and raised on Johns Island, South Carolina. With very little formal education, he became a businessman and civil rights leader.
The collection contains biographical papers, correspondence, writings, and information about his affliations, including the Progressive Club, Citizen's Committee of Charleston, Community Organization Credit Union, Political Action Committee of Charleston County, Political Awareness League of Charleston County, and the Highlander Folks Center. Additional material includes published materials documenting life on Johns Island, South Carolina and Jenkins' role in citizenship schools run by the Highlander Center and funded by the Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation.
1. Biographical Materials, 1970s-2003
2. Writings, 1967-1972
3. Affiliations, 1963-1990
4. Miscellaneous Material, 1966
Processed by Ervin Barnes, June 2005, and Harlan Greene
Encoded by Melissa Bronheim, July 2010, and Amanda Ross, February 2011
Edited by Aaron Spelbring, May 2013
Funding from the
Funding from the
- African American businesspeople -- South Carolina
- African Americans -- Civil rights -- South Carolina
- African Americans -- Education -- South Carolina
- African Americans -- Politics and government -- South Carolina
- African Americans -- South Carolina -- Charleston County -- History
- African Americans -- South Carolina -- Johns Island (Island) -- Social conditions
- African Americans -- Suffrage -- South Carolina
- Charleston Area Community Relations Committee (Charleston, S.C.)
- Citizens' Committee of Charleston (Charleston, S.C.)
- Community Organization Credit Union
- Highlander Folk School (Monteagle, Tenn.)
- Hospital Workers' Strike, Charleston, S.C., 1969
- Jenkins family
- Legal assistance to the poor -- South Carolina
- Literacy tests (Election law) -- South Carolina
- Police-community relations -- South Carolina -- Charleston
- Political Action Committee of Charleston County (Charleston County, S.C.)
- Political action committees -- South Carolina
- Progressive Club (Charleston, S.C.)
- Race discrimination -- South Carolina -- History
- Inventory of the Esau Jenkins Papers, 1963 - 2003 AMN 1004
- Finding aid prepared by Processed by: Staff; machine-readable finding aid created by: Melissa Bronheim
- Description rules
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is in English
- Funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources supported the collection processing and encoding of this finding aid.